I don’t know about you but I have wondered why most of our experienced politicians, academicians and journalists not catalogue their experiences in books so that a lot more people will benefit from them both now and decades to come? The culture of writing seems rather alien to us.
The Vice President John Mahama is featured in the July-September 2011 edition of the BBC’s Focus on Africa magazine. I was happy when I read his take on colonization, the emergence of China on the world economic front and the strides they are making in Africa etc, as well as the 2011 Arab revolutions. I guess my joy at seeing is article was largely premised on the hope that John Mahama will not take forever in writing about his tenure as Vice President.Samuel Ablakwah did well to write a book soon after he served as NUGS President. I was not surprised at that because I have always known him as someone who like to write even from as far back as secondary school. Arthur Kennedy put his experiences from the failed 2008 campaign of Nana Addo into a book which is believed to have influenced the NPP’s campaign ahead of 2012. AtoKwamena Dadzie, Ghana’s most irreverent, compiled his writings into a book as well. Of course Kwame Nkrumah was an exceptional leader. Hate him or love him he has made his mark in Ghanaian politics and he has capped that with a lot of books for generations yet unborn to read into the thoughts of the man who led our independence struggle and set the tone (sadly) to be messed up by every other leader after him.However it seems the large majority of people whose experiences will make marvelous reads and inspire thousands and serve as historical reference points have either not thought about doing so or do not find it necessary.
Elsewhere it is a very different story. Sportsmen and politicians in Europe take book deals very seriously. Not only does it guarantee them some extra income, it also leaves the public with an account from the horse’s own mouth which can serve as reference points years to come. Theo Walcott of English football club Arsenal has a book out largely focused on events leading up to his being axed from the England team ahead of the World Cup in South Africa; Garry Neville, the former Manchester United captain released a book shortly after hanging his boots; former US Vice President recently released his memoirs. The list is endless.
Can you imagine how exciting it will be to read about Kwaku Baako Junior’s experiences in jail and his relationship or lack of it with the Rawlingses as well as his newspaper and Anas? Or imagine Kwasi Pratt Junior telling his stories from the 1970s all through to his ‘just one shot march’ to Hotel Wawaa? Or Abedi Pele writing a book with a title like “football, three sons and more football”? I have heard Rawlings say that Nana Konadu is writing a book. I do not know how far she’s gone but it will be fun reading from her to. In fact, the Rawlingses ought to have written several books by now covering their coups, contesting and winning elections, raising four kids in power, having to hand over power not too willingly, and perhaps top it up with Konadu’s 3.1 Sunyani massacre. Kufuor too is supposed to be writing a book. I think that one too has taken too long in coming. I will like to read from J.H Mensah, and TotobiKwakye, and TsatsuTsikata, and Kwame Peprah, and AluiMahama, and J.H. Owusu Acheampong and all the men and women whose name we have heard and have either been impressed with or disappointed at.
I can imagine not many people will find it easy to sit down and write about issues even if one was directly involved with them. But I guess that is why we have biographers and writers around. Not every book about a public figure is an autobiography. If any of these guys cannot find the time or lack the skill to write they could find people to do the initial work after which they can then edit it to suit their thoughts. Let us write. I think we are gradually going past the days when ‘if you wanted to hide something from the African you put it in a book’!
PO: Sep 14, 2011